Questions to Help You Decide on the Best Assisted-Living Facility for Your Loved One

If you have a parent who is no longer as healthy or strong as they used to be, then it may be time to start transitioning your loved one to a type of senior housing or senior care facility. Individuals over the age of 65 make up more than 14% of the population in the United States. This percentage is likely to double by the year 2060, and many different senior care centers have cropped up in response to the increasing aging population. While this is extremely helpful when it comes to housing and caring for the needs of the elderly population, it may be confusing when trying to choose the right type of facility for your loved one. If you are having problems, then there are a few questions you can ask yourself that can help with the choice.

Is Your Parent Mostly Independent?

If your parent is mostly independent but no longer has the ability to take care of maintenance around the exterior or interior of the home, then an independent living facility may be best. These facilities are sometimes referred to as senior apartments, retirement homes, and apartments for people 55+. The apartments are typically privately rented apartments where your parent can retain their complete independence.

However, the facilities typically do offer on-site dining and meal plans for individuals who cannot or do not want to cook for themselves. A variety of apartment sizes are typically available, and the facility will likely offer recreational activities that include outings to local restaurants, theaters, and gaming facilities. Independent living facilities are the cheapest of all senior living options because there are few or no healthcare services offered.

Does Your Loved One Have a Medical Condition?

If your loved one has diabetes, heart disease, COPD, or another type of chronic illness, then they may require some medical assistance. In this sense, your parent is not completely independent, but they do not require the services that are offered at a nursing facility. If this is the case, then an assisted-living facility is best. In this type of facility, your loved one will have their own separate living space, like a small apartment. However, individuals like nutritionists, nurses, nursing aides, housekeeping professionals, and other types of staff members will meet with your loved one inside or outside their apartment. 

Living spaces will typically be smaller, with limited kitchen areas for safety reasons. Most assisted-living facilities will offer full dining services that cater to individuals with specific diet restrictions. For example, if your parent has kidney disease, then they will need to follow a low-protein, low-salt, low-phosphorous, and low-potassium diet. A nutritionist will be able to work out a balanced diet for your loved one that can be offered during mealtimes at the cafeteria. If your family member does not feel well enough to make it to the cafeteria, then food trays can typically be brought to the apartment or living space.

Is Dementia a Concern?

A memory care, dementia care, or Alzheimer's facility is going to be your best option if your parent is starting to exhibit signs of dementia. If your loved one has been showing signs of emotional instability, frustration, inappropriate actions, forgetfulness, and general reasoning and problem-solving difficulties, then they may be starting to develop Alzheimer's disease or dementia. If there is a genetic link to dementia in your family, or if you have seen a noticeable decline in the way your parent thinks and acts, then a memory care center may be best for your loved one.

Dementia care facilities typically offer around-the-clock support for all residents. This is especially helpful considering the nighttime difficulties that typically arise when individuals have dementia. This is called sundowning, and it requires patience and careful observation that may not always be provided at other assisted-living facilities. 

Structured activities are often offered to help encourage brain health and to promote a stress-free environment. Security measures are also put into place, like the automatic locking of all exit doors to help reduce wandering issues.